A farewell letter to Eric Pickles…

13 May 2015

Dear Eric,

There will be few tears at your departure as communities and local government secretary and nor would you have expected any. In fact any indication that the local authority sector had taken you to its bosom would I’m sure have signified to you that you hadn’t done your job properly.

Unlike other ministers, no names mentioned but let’s say health, you never had the slightest intention of ‘going native’ and becoming a spokesman for the sector within Cabinet. You made a point of stressing your job was to represent the public within the DCLG and to take on what you would regard as the vested producerist interests within the sector especially management. I don’t think you even know where the SOLACE offices are, even though they are a few hundred yards from Parliament.

You fulfilled a pretty difficult brief, namely to drive through the biggest cuts to local government in nearly two decades and to do it without provoking riots on the streets. You took up the challenge with some relish. Firstly you disguised it by claiming to be devolving powers through ‘localism’ which, let’s face it, meant giving more responsibilities with less money.

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